- Obama takes aim at ‘corporate deserters’
- Dick’s Sporting Goods lays off 478 PGA golf pros
- Senators: Cease-fire must allow Israel to defend against rockets, tunnels
- Sierra Leone doctor fighting Ebola catches disease
- Iraq welcomes Russian fighter jets, helicopter gunships into ISIL fight
- John McCain laments: Obama’s ‘self-pity … is really kind of sad’
- GOP offer to fix VA gives $10 billion in emergency funds
- Paul Ryan offers to repair U.S. economic safety net with a single grant stream
- Kim Jong-un builds bond with Putin: $250M Russia-backed addition to key port opens
- Pope Francis meets Meriam Ibrahim, a Sudanese woman sentenced to death
Top archivist says IRS ‘did not follow the law’ on missing emails
Question of the Day
The Internal Revenue Service broke the law when it failed to report Lois G. Lerner’s broken hard drive and lost emails, the national archivist told Congress on Tuesday, further fueling the email scandal.
“They are required, any agency is required, to notify us when they realize they have a problem that could be destruction or disposal, unauthorized disposal,” David S. Ferriero, head of the National Archives and Records Administration, told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
Amid the questions about whether the IRS made sufficient efforts to try to recover two years of emails from Ms. Lerner’s hard drive, which crashed in 2011, Mr. Ferriero’s testimony suggested that the agency’s actions may have been not just negligent but also illegal.
“They did not follow the law,” he testified.
Ms. Lerner is the former IRS official at the center of a congressional probe into the targeting of conservative groups seeking preferential tax treatment. The agency also wrongly blocked approval for some of those applications, in some cases for years.
Committee Chairman Darrell E. Issa, California Republican, accused IRS Commissioner John Koskinen on Monday of failing to inform Congress immediately after he learned this year that some of the emails were likely lost. Mr. Issa said the agency’s behavior has only deepened suspicions that damaging emails were deliberately destroyed.
Congress also took testimony Tuesday from Jennifer O’Connor, a new member of the White House legal team who served as a records liaison between members of Congress and acting IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel for six months last year.
Ms. O’Connor said the IRS worked diligently to dig up emails related to specific search terms for the committee’s review, and then went back to dig up all of Ms. Lerner’s emails after the committee expanded its request in August.
“We did our best,” Ms. O’Connor told the panel.
Mr. Issa was not impressed.
“The process you went through was a process that you determined that you wanted to go through,” he said.
Republicans portrayed Ms. O’Connor as a hostile witness, while Democrats wondered why she was called to testify at all.
Democrats said government computer crashes are common and Congress should be buttressing agency systems instead of pointing fingers and slashing budgets.
“You can’t have it both ways,” said Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, Virginia Democrat.
Already under the microscope for asking about groups’ religious leanings and donors, the IRS is losing more credibility with its lost emails.
Ms. Lerner has cited her Fifth Amendment rights and refused to cooperate with the congressional probe, leading Republicans to hold her in contempt.
Democrats shared disgust with some of the IRS practices but reserved much of their criticism for their Republican counterparts.
“Today’s hearing is not about policy or substance,” said Rep. Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland, the panel’s ranking Democrat. “It’s about politics and press.”
• Ben Wolfgang contributed to this report.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Tom Howell Jr. covers politics for The Washington Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- House panel OKs resolution to sue president for Obamacare delays
- Contrasting judgments on Obama's health care hours apart; appeals court calls subsidies unlawful
- New Democratic caucus will pressure GOP governors to expand Medicaid
- Insurers cough up refunds to subscribers under Obamacare ‘80-20 rule’
- GOP outraged Obamacare investigators able to get coverage with fake IDs
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
By Michael Widlanski
Leveling the battlefield to aid terrorists enables evil to fight on
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- Obama orders Pentagon advisers to Ukraine
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- Hamas rejects Kerry's call for cease-fire; Fears grow others could join fight against Israel
- Norway expects imminent 'concrete threat' from ISIL terrorists 'within days'
- State Department indicates Nouri al-Maliki's days numbered as Iraq prime minister
- Evidence shows Russia firing artillery into Ukraine: Pentagon
- Algerian plane diverted due to storms, second aircraft: 116 missing
- Russia sends Iraq fighter jets, helicopter gunships for ISIL fight after meeting in Moscow
- Tom Petty: 'No one's got Christ more wrong than the Christians'
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq